A man has been convicted of shooting dead a 20-year-old woman after the car she was in with friends mistakenly pulled into the driveway of his home while the group were looking for a party.

Kaylin Gillis was shot in the neck by Kevin Monahan on a Saturday night last April.

Monahan, 66, was found guilty on Tuesday of second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and tampering with physical evidence.

Ms Gillis and her friends pulled into his long, curving driveway in the upstate New York rural town of Hebron, near the Vermont border, while they were trying to find another house.

They began leaving once they realised their mistake, but Monahan came out and fired his shotgun twice.

The second shot hit Ms Gillis, who was sat in the front passenger seat of an SUV driven by her boyfriend, authorities said.

Monahan, who gave evidence during the trial, had argued the fatal shot was fired accidentally after he tripped.

Kevin Monahan in court. Pic: Lori Van Buren/The Albany Times Union via AP
Kevin Monahan in court. Pic: Lori Van Buren/The Albany Times Union via AP

He said he believed the house he shared with his wife was “under siege” by intruders – and he first fired a warning shot to scare the group away.

The prosecution told jurors Monahan was motivated by irrational rage toward trespassers.

“He acted out of anger. That’s the only thing that can be inferred from shooting at people within 90 seconds of being on his property,” said assistant district attorney Christian Morris.

“He grabbed his shotgun and intended to make them leave as fast as possible and he didn’t care if they were hurt or killed.”

Monahan could face life in prison when he is sentenced on 1 March.

The murder conviction carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.

Washington County district attorney J Anthony Jordan told reporters after the verdict: “We will be asking the judge to impose the maximum sentence.”

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Ms Gillis’s father, Andrew Gillis, described his daughter as someone who loved animals and had dreams of becoming a marine biologist or a vet.

Donald Boyajian, a lawyer and spokesperson for the Gillis family, said they were thankful for the trial’s outcome.

“Obviously it’s a just result, but a very sad time for the family,” he said.

“It doesn’t change what is going to be forever, which is the loss of their beautiful daughter.”

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